In New York, construction workers have always had to worry about falling tools. Back in 1903, the New York Times even ran an article talking about how important it was to secure tools during bridge building. This is something that's been an issue for a long time, and it still is today, despite advances in technology and workplace safety regulations.
How many people are hurt? It changes from year to year, of course, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that over 50,000 workers are hit by falling objects every single year. Those numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). When you work out the math, it means that one person is injured every 10 minutes by a falling object.
That doesn't even take into account all of the near-misses, where tools and other materials fall and workers are simply lucky enough not to be struck by them.
Falling tools are a serious risk even in situations where other safety protocols are followed. For example, workers may tie themselves off with harnesses and ropes so that they don't fall. While this is an upgrade over the workplace safety tactics of the past, in which no safety gear was used, the tools in those workers' hands -- chisels, hammers, saws and more -- may not be secured. That means that, while the worker at the height is safe, all of the people working below him or her are potentially in danger.
With the frequency of these accidents, it's clear that workers must know their rights. If you want to learn more after an accident, our website has a lot of helpful information.